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News and Comment May 2022

Index: 2019202020212022

21 May - There will be riots

I’ve probably said before that I could not give a damn about Boris Johnson having a slice of cake on his birthday.

During the 1980s I worked in an office which was about 50 yards away from a branch of Dunkin’ Donuts and whenever there was an office birthday, tea and biscuits was replaced with tea and something enormous, creamy and about 60 pence a go if I remember correctly. However its consumption did not constitute a birthday party, it was simply tea and a doughnut.

Presumably it was an act of political spite by the outgoing Metropolitan Police Commissioner who thought it worthwhile to spend half a million of London taxpayers’ money to issue 126 fines to mainly junior Civil Servants who felt they had little option but to follow their boss. Another example of the police not being able to get anything right.

Johnson must goPeople who think Johnson should resign over his Fixed Penalty Notice must be totally mad when there are at least half a dozen good reasons for him to be shown the door.

Idiotic, illogical, worthless and unenforceable lockdown laws and his failure to control immigration or to get Brexit done properly. His inability to see the energy crisis coming - no new nuclear, no fracking, demolish instead of mothballing the coal fired power stations and close the gas storage facilities. The result is extreme financial pain for the average family. Put it together with printing money hand over fist and Johnson has created inflation like we have not seen in nearly 50 years at a time when he’s increased taxes to a point not seen since the second world war.

So what has prompted this Saturday rant? A straw but maybe a significant one. I went to Sainsbury’s for milk and nothing else in mind except to look around.

At the top of the travelator there is a notice to the effect that they have matched 100 prices with Aldi which always makes me think “why don’t I just go to Aldi?”

Being lazy and not much of a cook I wandered down the Ready Meals aisle. They didn’t have my favourite which went up from £2·50 to £3 a month ago so I looked at the curries. They are a bit rubbish; not really big enough for one, insufficient rice and look a mess when on your plate but they are quite tasty and will fill a hole if you are not too hungry. A hidden advantage is that they can be microwaved for only two or three pence. (My faulty Smart Meter display has been fixed.) I bought two at the beginning of the week for £2·30 each. Today they are £3. They are simply not worth £3.

I went home with just the milk which had gone up by another 14 pence making a 22% total increase this year.

Fortunately I am not yet spending more each month than the pension provides but the days when I could just about live off my state pension and not touch the one from BT if I chose to are gone. Bexley Council’s 21% tax rise since 2018 has seen to that.

LoserAnd I am lucky in other ways too. Blowing too much money on solar panels in 2011 and an electric car four years ago is now paying dividends. I have driven to Ramsgate, Malmesbury and Southampton in the past two weeks which added around £9 to my electricity bill (†) because there was not enough sunshine between the first and second journeys. What would 700 miles cost if you can only afford to run an old banger? £130 or so? Plus four times £12·50 when Sadiq Khan introduces his car tax in August next year. (Malmesbury was a two day trip.)

Johnson and his Chancellor simply haven’t got a clue. How will the average working man and woman cope when the higher food costs meet the increased Winter heating bills head on? In October the energy price cap will likely increase by another 30% over last month’s 54%.

When people cannot afford to eat, Johnson will learn what an angry population does to political Neros and whatever it is it will be fully justified.

† Fortunately for me, but not the people struggling to pay their electricity bills, the £9 was offset by about £75 of Feed in Tariff paid directly to me from the ludicrous Green Levies for generating the power to drive those 700 miles.


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